Foreword Communications

Deadbeat Parents and the Need for Child Support Laws

Today, I happened upon a blog that was socking it to every law that has been designed specifically to sock it to parents who don’t pay child support.  This blogger (let’s call him Mr. Blogger) stated that the laws were “railroading” paying parents as well as non-paying ones.  He also stated that these “stupid” (yep, he called ‘em stupid) laws were ruining the lives of paying parents.  And, without a thought to custodial parents who never see a dime of child support, this blogger actually called the laws that require reporting deadbeat parents to credit reporting bureaus and laws that deny small business loans to non-paying parents “nonsense”.  Yikes!

 

Since, just today, my ex-husband and the father of my three children remarried for the third time, I was understandably irritated in a way that this blogger apparently can’t understand.  Oh, I don’t have a problem with the fact that my ex has remarried.  More power to him.  I do, however, have a problem with the fact that he had a full-blown wedding, complete with two limousines and a ballroom reception, when he hasn’t paid child support since last year.  Guess we can say that my children financed that wedding, can’t we?

 

Anyway, as my ex enjoys such amenities as two cars, a camper, a boat, a classic car he’s restoring, out-of-town vacations, a wedding, and, yes, a honeymoon, I sit here wondering what more I, and my children, can do to make his life more enjoyable.  Perhaps, in addition to supporting our children single-handedly, he’d also like me to pay the mortgage on his rental property and throw him a few bucks for spending money on his honeymoon as well.  Now, I’m not a bitter woman.  My kids were in the wedding and I dished out a rather large sum of my own hard-earned money preparing them for their father’s nuptials.  Naturally, he and the new Mrs. sprang for the dresses and suits, but I had to pay for hair, nails, a dress and shoes for my oldest daughter who elected not to be in the wedding but did want to attend, and a lot of back and forth between his house, the church, and the reception hall – he lives twenty miles away.  Still, it seems as if most of this – ok all of it – should have been his responsibility, not mine.

 

So as Mr. Blogger Dude berates our nation’s lawmakers for getting too tough on deadbeat parents, I ask you – are they really tough enough?  States have had to find new and aggressive ways to stop deadbeats in their tracks.  Why?  Because deadbeats have found new and creative ways to avoid paying child support.  In the case of my ex-husband, there’s no end to his creativity. 

 

Consider this.  My ex-husband is self-employed and is paid under the table for the work that he does.  This means that he has no weekly wages to garnish.  My ex claims only what he has to on taxes and never receives a refund, so there is no tax refund to seize.  The laws that allow my state to place a lien on his real estate don’t work because the house he rents out has two mortgages, so he owes far more than the property could be sold for.  And the laws that allow my state to suspend a professional license don’t apply since he isn’t a professional of any kind.  So what are the options?  He was just notified that, unless he paid his support, the county in which the child support order was issued intends to suspend his driver’s license.  Actually, the suspension will be in effect when he returns from his honeymoon.  But, do you think he cares?  Not!  He will continue to drive and, should he get pulled over, he’ll just blame it all on me.  After all, everything else is my fault, why not that too?

 

My point is this.  States are having a hard time finding ways to punish those who don’t take their child support seriously.  And along comes Mr. Blogger with his blanket declaration that child support enforcement laws are stupid and they aren’t fair.  So, let’s look at his concerns from a different angle, shall we?

 

Mr. Blogger asked the question “Now someone please tell me how in the world that is fair do they think by allowing a non-custodial parent to obtain a loan to start their dream of owning their own business is somehow going to prevent that person from paying child support.”

 

Well, Mr. Blogger, it’s like this.  Preventing the non-paying parent from realizing their dream of owning their own business is not going to prevent them from paying child support.  However, there is no need to reward that individual for non-payment either.  After all, if he/she can’t take his/her child support seriously, who’s to say that he/she is honorable enough to make loan payments either.  Oh!  But, maybe Mr. Blogger feels that a business loan is more serious than child support and so therefore the Small Business Administration can trust the deadbeat when his/her own children can’t.  Either way, if a deadbeat parent wants to dream of owning a business he/she had better own up to his/her children’s dreams first.  Owning a business is not a guarantee of child support.  And why should the deadbeat get ahead while his/children fall behind?

 

Mr. Blogger states that, in the olden days, deadbeats “were not denied their civil liberties or the rights to obtain loans to start businesses or purchase homes”. 

 

Ok, listen closely.  Deadbeat parents should be denied all of the rights and liberties that law-abiding citizens enjoy because deadbeat parents are not law-abiding.  You break a law, there are penalties.  It’s that simple.  And, paying child support was rendered a law because far too many parents were failing to support their children.  Parents who fail to pay child support for a couple of months are rarely denied the right to obtain a loan.  The situation generally has to be far more serious than a slight arrearage.  After all, times are tough and anyone can fall behind on their financial obligations.  It is the consistent and flagrant violators that are usually awarded such penalties.  And, boy, do they deserve it.  Why on earth should a deadbeat parent be permitted to purchase a home?  What, we’re supposed to allow them to own property while their children live in poverty?  I don’t think so!  Can’t buy a home if you’re a deadbeat parent?  Wow, bummer, so sorry to hear that.

 

The fact is that deadbeat parents have spent a great deal of time and effort finding new and creative ways to avoid supporting their children and whining about how “unfair” the laws that force them to pay are.  If they put half that much effort into giving their children their due, there would have been little need for child support laws in the first place.

But, I don’t have all the answers either.

 

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